Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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2 KINGS - Chapter 4

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2 Kings iv.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Isboseth is omitted in Hebrew but understood. He is expressed in the Septuagint. The Alexandrian copy generally substitutes Memphibosthai, by mistake; as he (Miphiboseth) was the son of Jonathan, ver. 4. (Haydock) --- Weakened. Hitherto Abner had been the chief support of Saul's family. His traitorous practices had been kept secret from Isboseth, (Calmet) who hoped that his former declaration had been dictated by a sudden passion, and would not be carried into effect, chap. iii. 10. (Haydock) --- Troubled, not knowing what turn things would now take, and fearing the resentment of the sons of Sarvia, though they were convinced of David's good dispositions. (Salien, the year before Christ 1067.)

Ver. 2. Bands, (Latronum.) Literally, "robbers," or people who live on plunder, like the posterity of Ismael, and of Esau, Genesis xxvii. 40. The life-guards of princes are often styled latrones, (Calmet) from their being stationed at their "sides," as if Laterones. (Menochius)

-----Fixumque latronis,

Impavidus frangit telum. (Virgil, ∆neid xii. 7.)

See Servius. (Judges xi. 3.) --- Beroth was one of the towns of the Gabaonites. It is not certain that the inhabitants retired, in consequence of the persecution of Saul; but they went to the territory of Geth, or to another town of Benjamin, 2 Esdras xi. 33. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. That. Hebrew, &c., "this day," when the historian wrote. (Menochius)

Ver. 4. Miphiboseth. All from Beroth, (ver. 2,) may be included within a parenthesis, being only mentioned here to let us know the state of affairs, (Haydock) and how the son of Jonathan could have no pretensions of the crown. (Grotius) (Calmet) --- He would be almost 12 years old at the death of his uncle. (Haydock)

Ver. 5. At noon, "to divide the day," as Varro (iii. 2,) writes. This custom is very prevalent in hot countries. --- And the, &c., is all omitted in Hebrew and in most ancient manuscripts of St. Jerome's version. It is taken from the Septuagint, (Calmet) who do not notice any farther the taking ears of corn, ver. 6. (Haydock) --- Probably the Hebrew had this sentence formerly. (Du Hamel) --- It was customary to have women to keep the doors; (Matthew xxvi. 69,) and they were often employed in cleansing wheat. Petronius says, in lance argente pisum purgabat. (Calmet) --- The ears of corn, hardly ripe, were cleansed, and used as a delicious food. (Tirinus) (1 Kings xvii. 17.) (Sanctius)

Ver. 6. Corn. Soldiers were paid with corn, instead of money. They came, therefore, under this pretext; or they brought some as a present to the king, (Liranus) or pretended that they were come to purchase, (Menochius) or bringing a sample to sell; (Tirinus) ut emptores tritici. (Chaldean) Protestants, "as though they would have fetched wheat, and they smote him under the fifth rib."

Ver. 7. Parlour. Hebrew, "bed-chamber." --- Wilderness. Avoiding places frequented. (Haydock) --- The distance was about 40 leagues, which they could not travel in one night. (Calmet) --- Adrichomius says it was 30 hours' walk. Septuagint, "west-ward." (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Life. They wish to recall to David's remembrance what Saul had done against him, that he may approve the more of what they had perpetrated. (Menochius) --- They supposed that, as Abner had been well received, they should obtain still greater favour. (Salien)

Ver. 11. Innocent. Isboseth was such, at least, in their regard. He might also have mounted his father's throne, bona fide; and, at any rate, it was not their business to decide the matter (Calmet) in this treacherous manner. Thus Alexander punished Bessus, who had murdered his master, Darius, with whom the former was at war. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Feet, while they were alive, (Theodoret; Menochius) almost as Adonibezec had treated many; (Judges i. 6,) or they were first put to death, and the parts cut off were fastened to a cross; as the head and right hand of Cyrus were by his brother Artaxerxes. (Xenophon, Anab. iii.) (Calmet) --- Josephus seems to be of the former opinion, saying, "he ordered them to be executed in the most excruciating torments," "while the head of Jebosthe (Isboseth) was buried with all honour." (Antiquities vii. 2.) --- Thus David convinced the people that he would punish crimes, when it was in his power, and that he would give no encouragement to the treason or perfidy of any one. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Isboseth is murdered by two of his servants: David punisheth the murderers.

1 And *Isboseth, the son of Saul, heard that Abner was slain in Hebron: and his hands were weakened, and all Israel was troubled.

2 Now the son of Saul had two men captains of his bands; the name of the one was Baana, and the name of the other Rechab, the sons of Remmon, a Berothite, of the children of Benjamin: for Beroth also was reckoned in Benjamin.

3 And the Berothites fled into Gethaim, and were sojourners there until that time.

4 And Jonathan, the son of Saul, had a son that was lame of his feet: for he was five years old, when the tidings came of Saul and Jonathan from Jezrahel. And his nurse took him up and fled: and as she made haste to flee, he fell and became lame: and his name was Miphiboseth.

5 And the sons of Remmon, the Berothite, Rechab and Baana, coming, went into the house of Isboseth in the heat of the day: and he was sleeping upon his bed at noon. And the door-keeper of the house, who was cleansing wheat, was fallen asleep.

6 And they entered into the house secretly, taking ears of corn; and Rechab, and Baana, his brother, stabbed him in the groin, and fled away.

7 For when they came into the house, he was sleeping upon his bed in a parlour; and they struck him and killed him: and taking away his head, they went off by the way of the wilderness, walking all night.

8 And they brought the head of Isboseth to David, to Hebron: and they said to the king: Behold the head of Isboseth, the son of Saul, thy enemy, who sought thy life: and the Lord hath revenged my lord the king this day of Saul, and of his seed.

9 But David answered Rechab, and Baana, his brother, the sons of Remmon, the Berothite, and said to them: As the Lord liveth, who hath delivered my soul out of all distress,

10 *The man that told me, and said: Saul is dead, who thought he brought good tidings, I apprehended, and slew him in Siceleg, who should have been rewarded for his news.

11 How much more now, when wicked men have slain an innocent man in his own house, upon his bed, shall I not require his blood at your hand, and take you away from the earth?

12 And David commanded his servants, and they slew them, and cutting off their hands and feet, hanged them up over the pool in Hebron: but the head of Isboseth they took and buried in the sepulchre of Abner, in Hebron.



1: Year of the World 2956.

10: 2 Kings i. 14.